Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Enjoy the Great North Sports; There Is More to North East Sport Than the Premier League Football Teams - and We Have Some of the World's Best in Our Hotbed. Sports Writer Mark Douglas Explains

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Enjoy the Great North Sports; There Is More to North East Sport Than the Premier League Football Teams - and We Have Some of the World's Best in Our Hotbed. Sports Writer Mark Douglas Explains

Article excerpt

ON a good Saturday, you can hear the roar from St James' Park or the Stadium of Light from miles around.

Despite the long wait for silverware - 42 years for Sunderland and 46 years for Newcastle United - they retain their status as the most passionately supported clubs in the Premier League.

They are slumbering giants but giants still, even if the trials and tribulations of the two clubs sometimes frustrate us. They captivate and energise our cities like nothing else - and have been responsible for some of the Premier League's most memorable moments.

Success might elude them, but elsewhere we're world leaders.

The Great North Run bills itself - not unreasonably - as the world's favourite run and is a testament to the enduring spirit and innovation of one of this city's favourite sporting sons.

Last year's spectacular celebrations to commemorate its millionth finisher - beating the marathons of New York, Paris and Chicago to the title - were a reminder of how special that event is. Some of the world's best have won it, but it's the everyday folk who surmount their own obstacles to get to the finish in South Shields who make it so special.

And you can see the impact wherever you go - we're a region of runners. We have a thriving club scene with more Parkruns than any other region other than London and some classic races that attract runners from far and wide - the Blaydon Race and the Northumberland Coastal Run are just two of many brilliant ones powered by volunteers and enthusiasts.

We also boast one of the most remarkable success stories in British sport, for the once-humble Durham County Cricket Club have cornered the market in winning.

Once the nation's whipping boys, we now have three county championships - in 2008, 2009 and 2013 - and two one-day trophies since the turn of a new century. And more than that we have some of the best young players in the country regularly coming through our Academies: Ben Stokes is just the latest. …

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